March 8, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces $2.4 Million in Funding to Support Employment of Individuals with Disabilities

Governor Cuomo Announces $2.4 Million in Funding to Support Employment of Individuals with Disabilities

100 Disability Employment Organizations Receive funding as Part of the Employment First Initiative

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $2.4 million has been distributed to 100 organizations that provide employment services to individuals with disabilities via the New York State Employment Services System. This funding is part of the Governor’s Employment First Initiative to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

“This funding continues New York’s legacy of inclusiveness by helping provide the necessary employment services to individuals with disabilities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This action is yet another example of our commitment to expanding opportunity to all New Yorkers.”

Governor Cuomo’s Employment First Initiative, created through Executive Order 136, is tasked with establishing policies and practices for government, community agencies and advocacy organizations to increase the employment rate of New Yorkers with disabilities, decrease the poverty rate of New Yorkers with disabilities; and encourage businesses to establish formal policies to hire people with disabilities.

More information on New York State’s Employment First Policy is available here.

A regional breakdown of the organizations that will receive the funding is available here.

New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State continues to lead the way on disability employment. Helping individuals with mental illness find meaningful work not only helps economically, it also plays an important role in the recovery process, fostering a sense of independence and pride. By working together, providing support for each step forward, we are truly creating a brighter future for New York.”

The Governor also announced that New York State has been awarded a training grant from the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Programs which will provide comprehensive assistance in support of the Governor’s Employment First Initiative and allow for the training of up to 10,000 service providers in the provision of disability employment services.

NYESS, an integral part of the Governor’s Employment First Initiative, is the largest employment network for people with disabilities in the United States. To date, $2.4 million from the Social Security Administration has been received by 100 New York State organizations which have assisted 7,755 individuals with disabilities with employment services, helping 1,366 individuals find permanent employment. NYESS provides all New Yorkers – regardless of ability – with access to comprehensive employment-related services and supports including job matching with the approximately 120,000 jobs currently posted by employers in the state.

For more information about NYESS, please click here.

As one of 19 states to receive training assistance from the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Programs in Fiscal Year 2016-2017, New York will receive 400 hours of training from nationally recognized experts in the field of disability employment. This training will focus on assisting community service providers in the cultural transformation necessary to support Governor Cuomo’s Employment First Agenda, and create strategies for the implementation of specific services aimed at improving the employment rate and reducing the poverty rate among individuals with disabilities.

To expand the reach of this valuable training, the State will pursue a “train-the-trainers” approach and prioritize the training of the leadership of disability employment trade associations affiliated with the New York State Inclusive Workforce Alliance. It is expected that each of the 20 members of the Inclusive Workforce Alliance will train 100 of their members in the delivery of evidence-based practices supporting the Employment First model.

Congressman Charles B. Rangel said: "One’s physical and mental difficulties should not close doors on employment. I thank Governor Cuomo for providing training and assistance to organizations serving New York’s disabled community. I will continue to fight to ensure that all Americans, regardless of their physical or mental capabilities have the same opportunities to enjoy the American Dream.”

Congressman Gregory W. Meeks said: “I commend Governor Andrew Cuomo for his administration’s efforts to improve employment opportunities around New York City and State for those with disabilities. Programs such as the Governor’s Employment First Initiative, increase the likelihood that those with disabilities and the communities that care for them possess every resource and opportunity to find employment. It is imperative that we continue to prioritize programs like these that help bring our economy back to full employment and create sustainable pathways for workers all abilities.”

Congressman Brian Higgins said: “A job gives individuals, including those with disabilities, not only a steady income but a sense of fulfillment and independence. This initiative will continue to build on the successful partnership between the Social Security Administration, Department of Labor and New York State to provide employment-matching services, and ultimately a job, to thousands of New Yorkers with disabilities, and train thousands more to help individuals integrate fully into the workplace.”

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke said: “Protecting and prioritizing the needs of individuals with disabilities must remain a priority at all levels of government. The Employment First Initiative, through the utilization of the New York Employment Services System, will continue to provide disability service providers with needed resources to enable them to expand the capacity to provide critical assistance with employment. With over 2 million dollars of funding from the Social Security Administration, the playing field can be leveled for those who are most susceptible to facing higher rates of unemployment and poverty across our state. I will continue to work with the Cuomo administration and the related New York State agencies to make certain that all New Yorkers have greater access to these crucial resources.”

Congressman Paul Tonko said: “We boost our community, our economy, and ourselves when we help our friends and neighbors overcome unique challenges in the workplace. Everyone who wants work should have the opportunity to find it, and Governor Cuomo and I share an ongoing goal of providing that opportunity. I thank the relentless and determined NYESS team for their efforts in finding permanent employment for individuals with disabilities in our state, and I look forward to working with them to ensure the opportunity to work for each and every New Yorker moving forward.”

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said: “We must continue to tear down barriers to employment for people with disabilities. Every New Yorker who wants or needs a job should have access to the resources they need to get one. Governor Cuomo’s Employment First Initiative has already helped thousands of New Yorkers with disabilities find employment, and this additional investment by the federal government will ensure service providers get the critical training necessary to help New Yorkers find jobs and lift themselves out of poverty.”

Congresswoman Kathleen Rice said: “We have an important responsibility to help provide support and opportunities to New Yorkers with disabilities so they can achieve their full potential and live with dignity and independence. This federal funding will support hundreds of organizations across the state that help thousands of disabled New Yorkers secure good, permanent jobs, both by strengthening job placement services and by enhancing the training of the people who are on the ground providing these services. These funds will go a long way toward building a highly qualified, professional workforce that is fully committed to helping New Yorkers with disabilities find rewarding and sustainable employment.”

Harvey Rosenthal, Executive Director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services said: “It is very gratifying to see the Governor and the Administration taking these steps to advance the promise of employment and greater economic self-sufficiency for New Yorkers with disabilities. Employment is the essential pathway out of poverty and towards wellness and full community inclusion.”

Michael Seereiter, President and CEO of the New York State Rehabilitation Association said: "Flexible funding and technical assistance are the most effective ways government can support innovation and creativity when it comes to assisting people with disabilities find opportunities for inclusion in our community. New York is to be highly commended for bringing these resources to bear on the efforts of providers of employment supports. Allowed to remain flexible, these resources will continue to make New York a leader among states in disability employment supports and inclusion."

New York State’s Employment First Initiative is supported by the following New York State agencies: The Office of Mental Health, the Department of Health, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Labor, the Division of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Department of Transportation, Empire State Development, the Education Department, the Commission for the Blind, the Department of Civil Services, and the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.

NYESS is a registered employment network with the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Ticket-to-Work program, which supports career development for people with disabilities. NYESS coordinates these Ticket-to-Work services at the local level. NYESS is administered by the Office of Mental Health and the Department of Labor in collaboration with Commission for the Blind, State Education Department ACCES-VR, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and the Office for the Aging.

More information on the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Programs’ Employment First efforts is available here.

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